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Master of Laws

Description

This taught masters degree is a flexible modular qualification designed to consider the role and place of law in an increasingly globalised world. A critical legal approach is taken and the modules use different perspectives and case studies to explore, contextualise and illustrate a number of contemporary issues challenging the international community. Study on the degree is also designed to develop key postgraduate transferable skills, including advanced legal research, which are attractive to employers and which assist with professional advancement. It is designed for law graduates, non-law graduates and lawyers wanting to develop their interests in law at postgraduate level.

There is an increasing demand for professionals who have an in-depth understanding of the role and purpose of law in the increasing global society and the associated advanced legal research and reasoning skills.

This qualification enables you to pursue advanced legal study and gain those sought after postgraduate legal skills in a challenging but supportive environment. The approach taken throughout the qualification is the critical study of law and you will be encouraged to take both comparative and contextual perspectives.

As part of your studies you will explore the interaction of law, law making bodies, institutions and regulators in an international context, the role and function of law in an increasingly global society, the role of states, international institutions and multi-national companies. You will consider a range of contemporary legal issues such as corporate social responsibility, trans-national crime, humanitarian aid and security issues providing you with an opportunity to engage with topical legal issues. You will also explore current and possible future developments; receive grounding in law and its place in society; study methods of reasoning and analysis in law and evaluate the complexities inherent in law, regulation and legal study At the end of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake an in-depth piece of independent legal research.

As part of your studies you will develop key legal transferable skills which are widely sought after in a wide range of legal and non-legal careers, both with a national and international dimension. You will become skilled in legal reasoning and engage in sustained, independent research.

The qualification will predominantly focus on common law systems although a comparative approach will be taken throughout. It is suitable for study whether you are a law graduate, non-law graduate or lawyer and on successful completion of the qualification you will be able to demonstrate an impressive array of transferable skills to employers.

If you are interested in becoming a lawyer (solicitor or barrister) you need to study our undergraduate Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons) (Q05), or if you already hold a degree we offer a Bachelor of Laws with Honours (graduate entry) (Q75).

Planning your studies

You should hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent or recognised overseas qualification) or relevant professional legal experience. You will be expected to follow the suggested study pathway, although there is some flexibility.

There is a choice of routes through the qualification. You can start your studies with either of the compulsory modules Exploring legal meaning (W820) or Exploring the boundaries of international law (W821). These modules provide core postgraduate skills in legal methodology and research and knowledge of international law and legal thinking. They include a comparative approach.

Or you can start your studies with Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibilities (W822), or an optional module from another faculty. Please note that if you are claiming credit transfer from another postgraduate provider you may not need to study an optional module.

The law dissertation (W800) is the final module of the qualification and provides an opportunity to undertake a significant piece of independent legal research in a topic within a chosen specialist legal subject from the qualification.

Each module will involve around 12 hours of study per week.

You will typically take three years to gain this qualification and it must be completed within seven years.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

This degree will contribute to your career development by providing academic knowledge and a number of highly sought after transferable skills valued by employers. Typically holders of the LLM will:

  • deal with complex legal issues both systematically and creatively
  • communicate their subject knowledge clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
  • act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks
  • reflect on the responsibilities linked to the application of knowledge
  • demonstrate the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial piece of independent research with scholarly integrity
  • exercise initiative and personal responsibility
  • be able to develop a persuasive legal argument based on evidence
  • demonstrate independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Modules

For this 180-credit postgraduate degree you require:

120 credits from the following compulsory modules

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Exploring legal meaning (W820)

This module explores the place and meaning of law in the modern world and provides a broad understanding of how law works in different contexts.

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30 Nov 2014
Exploring the boundaries of international law (W821)

This module examines the complexities of twenty-first century international law by exploring the evolving role and function of international law in the modern world.

See full description

30 May 2015
The law dissertation (W800)

The Law Dissertation is the final element of the LLM and will support you in completing a research project based on your previous LLM studies.

See full description

60 Nov 2014

And at least 30 credits from Group A modules

Group A

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility (W822)

This module examines the nature of corporate commitment to principles of corporate social responsibility in different contexts and its inter-relationship with human rights law.

See full description

30 Nov 2014

Or the 30-credit module Continuing professional development in practice (UYA810).

Please note that UYA810 is part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice (Employment Law Advice) qualification only available to those working for ACAS. Therefore if you do not hold this qualification W822 is currently a compulsory module in Group A.

And up to 30 credits from Group B modules

Group B

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Capacities for managing development (TU870)

This module analyses development management, examines a range of tools for planning, managing and evaluating development, and investigates key aspects of development management, including strategic thinking.

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30 Nov 2014
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to accredit 150 hours prior learning through auditing and assessing the impact of your continuing professional development (CPD) on your work.

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30 Nov 2014
Development: context and practice (T877)

This module provides a conceptual framework for analysing the complex, contested contexts in which development takes place, and a critical analysis of development management practice.

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30 Nov 2014
Environmental decision making: a systems approach (T863)

This module uses systems ideas to explore environmental decision-making situations, to make sense of their complexity and to look for feasible changes and action.

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30 Nov 2014 FINAL
or
Making environmental decisions (T891) NEW

Defining environment to include biophysical, social, political, economic factors, this module uses a systems framework to integrate environment with other elements in environmental decision-making situations.

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30 May 2015
Environmental monitoring and protection (T868)

This online module equips you with the skills necessary to undertake environmental assessment work, interpret the results and suggest appropriate remedial measures.

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30 Nov 2014
Environmental responsibility: ethics, policy and action (TD866)

This module is about understanding and taking responsibility, individually and collectively, for policy and action relating to environmental dilemmas, from climate change to biodiversity loss.

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30 May 2015
Institutional development (TU872)

This module analyses institutions, identifies their significance for development, examines how to build inter-organisational relationships, and explores the skills of mapping, modelling, negotiation and brokering.

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30 Nov 2014
War, intervention and development (TU875)

This module explores the causes of conflict, focusing on civil war, and examines ways and means of developing effective interventions in conflict and post-conflict situations.

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30 Nov 2014 FINAL
Conflict and development (T879) NEW

Combining theoretical concepts with practical tools, this module explores the causes of conflict, the impact conflicts have on development, and actions that can help mitigate conflicts.

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30 May 2015

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D864, D867, D872, D873, TU871

Please note that U810 and UYA810 cannot both be counted towards this qualification.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us. 

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

On completion

On successful completion of the required number and type of modules you will be awarded a Master of Laws entitling you to use the letters LLM (Open) after your name. Your degree will be classified: distinction, merit or pass. The classification will be based on your best 90 credits but must include W800.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Taught Masters
Code F64
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

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